The deadline for teams to place their franchise tag on a pending free agent is Monday at 4:00 p.m. and only five tags have been placed so far.
The Vikings are not expected to use their tag this offseason despite Phil Loadholt, Jamarca Sanford, and Jerome Felton all currently unsigned. Felton would be way overpaid because there is no difference between a fullback and running back as far as the franchise tag is concerned, while Sanford has yet to prove himself as being anywhere close to worthy of the tag.
Loadholt is not somebody the Vikings would want to lose easily, but he also isn’t likely to see them hand over $9.8 million for one year of service, particularly with so many other right tackle possibilities available via free agency and the Draft.
What will be of interest to the Vikings tomorrow, however, is keeping track of who gets tagged and who doesn’t. They may have to cross some potential free agency targets off their list, but it will also provide some clarity as to which players are likely to hit the open market.
For instance, the Buffalo Bills already placed their tag on playmaking safety Jairus Byrd, but that means guard Andy Levitre is soon going to be allowed to sign with another team. Defensive end Michael Johnson of the Bengals was franchised and so right tackle Andre Smith could also be available.
The other three players to be tagged so far are punter Pat McAfee of the Colts, left tackle Ryan Clady of the Broncos, and defensive tackle Henry Melton of the Bears.
We’ll keep an eye on Monday’s action all day long and be sure to update you on how, if at all, the Vikings might be impacted by all of this.